Wilco Nijland is not an old man by any measurement or stretch of the imagination. A hair over 42 years old, the founder of the King of the Court series is young and spritely and lively enough to create a sustainable business in the world of beach volleyball, a sport notoriously known for being rather difficult at just that. That does, however, come with a cost.
King of the Court’s upcoming event in Miami, for example? The one set to begin this Friday and conclude on Monday?
“It cost me 500 days of my life and 200 nights of sleep,” he said, laughing.
Such is the tax of being something of a unicorn in the sport of beach volleyball.
For five years, Nijland has done a remarkable job of balancing the King of the Court schedule so as to not conflict — or conflict as minimally as possible — with the other major entities in the sport, namely Volleyball World and the AVP. He has no interest in competing with either organization, to usurp their power and become the major promoter in beach volleyball. He instead works alongside them, running, as examples, King of the Court events prior to Volleyball World tournaments in Uberlandia, Brazil, last fall prior to an Elite 16, and the King of the Court Finals in Doha the week leading up to the Beach Pro Tour Finals in February. This week, he took it a step further, creating a win-win-win in Miami.
A year ago, Nijland observed a large percentage of European players descend upon Miami, or other areas in Florida, for training camps prior to the Volleyball World Challenge event in Tlaxcala and a subsequent Elite 16 in Rosarito, Mexico. When the Dutch consulate in Florida reached out and mentioned that they wanted to host some sort of event in 2023, Nijland took note of the Volleyball World schedule, which features a Challenge in La Paz on March 16-19, and an Elite 16 the following week in Tepic.
What if King of the Court put on an event the weekend before La Paz, to serve as a competitive tune-up prior to the Challenge?
“We timed it perfectly,” he said.
The field he has assembled speaks to that perfect timing. The world will get its first peek at Tri Bourne and Chaim Schalk, as well as Troy Field and Phil Dalhausser, while Taylor Sander will make his sophomore season debut with Taylor Crabb. Flying in will be the Czech Republic’s Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner (No. 6 in the world), Estonia’s Kusti Nolvak and Maart Tiisaar (19), Latvia’s Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis…
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